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Review

LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION

Falling Off The Lavender Bridge (8/10)






“My drawings are starting to suck

My best friends are all listening to crunk

I feel like the world's gone crazy.”

Everyone I Know is Listening to Crunk


Sometimes you just have to admit you were wrong.  A few weeks ago I wrote a review of LC's single 'Tell Me What It's Worth,' and I said some pretty terrible things about the song.  There was a Magic Numbers link in there – which is one of the worst things you can say about a song.  It all seemed too sugary and unworldly, but I accept now that I completely missed the point – and wish to offer a sincere apology to Dev Hynes for the misguided words I produced.

What changed?  Well, it was hearing the album.  Alone, the singles may have sounded like bits of shiny pop, and the sheer colourfulness of it all is enough to put off any hardened cynic.  If you take it on face value and don't even listen to the lyrics, well you can easily jump to the wrong conclusions.  One the surface it was just shiny summery pop music and not something that is going to cause you to be even remotely interested.  But sometimes it pays to give something a little time – and what we have here is a potential classic; a wealth of ideas and something of a story to tell.  The imagery isn't as pretty as the packaging, and thank God for that.

If there is a theme running through the album it's that of mixed messages.  The tunes themselves are often rather pretty, and the whole set-up borders on musical theatre.  But the lyrical content is far from shiny, and it has to be the song-writing that makes the album stand out.  The delivery of the vocals falls in the line of Morrissey, or Martin Rossiter from Gene, but the words being sung are far more original than either. 

The lyrics run throughout as a stream of consciousness – they feel very honest and personal – not so much in a baring the soul kind of way, but just express relatively unique feelings.    The melodies themselves often seem upbeat, certainly theatrical. 


Exemplar of all of this is the centrepiece ten minute epic 'Midnight Surprise.'  At first it seems like straightforward pop single, with a chorus not that far removed from 'Everlasting Love' (tell me I'm wrong about this!).  Quite sweet sentiment and it all seems fairly nice and unrequited love.  Then “Fuck, I think she just saw me.”  And it goes somewhere else.  It's a big band performance, a fair amount of strings and clear sections (arrangements akin to some of Bright Eyes' larger numbers) – essentially a modern classical piece turned into a big pop number.  The time just flies by. 

'Lavenders...' is a series of tales of a feckless young man who is only too happy to admit his faults.  'Galaxy of the Lost' is an early sign of the tales of slightly grim stories that are to follow.  A rather dirty love affair mixed in with a healthy dose of narcissism.  'I Could Have Done This Myself' is an awkward tale of losing his virginity, and although it's an experience unique to him, it's told in a way so you can at least sympathise with.  These are his stories, but they could have been yours in a way.  They speak more about your life than a million pithy lines from Kate Nash.  They are self-detrimental, but spoken with a fondness towards his own weaknesses – lullabies laced in a real sadness.

These songs all tell stories that are tangible.  You can picture them, from the mood just as much as the lyrics.  The songs are catchy and tuneful, and they have much more depth than you may originally think.  There is a huge variety of ideas on here and they flow very well.  There aren't really many moments that don't fit.  To redeem myself, I would say that the previously slated 'Tell Me What It's Worth' is the weakest song on there, but the perhaps says more about how good the rest of it is. 

So, yes, I have to admit I was wrong – but on the plus side, here is a great album to soften that blow.
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